Names of Allah Series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII | Part IX | Part X | Part XI | Part XII | Part XIII | Part XIV | Part XV | Part XVI | Part XVII | Part XVIII | Part XIX | Part XX | Part XXI | Part XXII | Part XXIII | Part XXIV | Part XXV | Part XXVI | Part XXVII | Part XXVIII | Part XXIX | Part XXX | Part XXXI | Part XXXII | Part XXXIII | Part XXXIV | Part XXXV | Part XXXVI | Part XXXVII | Part XXXVIII | Part XXXIX | Part XL | Part XLI | Part XLII | Part XLIII | Part XLIV | Part XLV | Part XLVI | Part XLVII | Part XLVIII | Part XLIX | Part L | Part LI | Part LII | Part LIII | Part LIV | Part LV | Part LVI | Part LVII| Part LVIII | Part LIX | Part LX | Part LXI | Part LXII | Part LXIII | Part LXIV | Part LXV |Part LXVI | Part LXVII | Part LXVIII | Part LXIX | Part LXX | Part LXXI | Part LXXII | Part LXIII
After reflecting on many of Allah’s Names over the past four years, we finally arrive at the Name that is most commonly on our tongues: Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He).
This Name brings together all of His attributes such that when you call on Him by this Name, you are bringing together all of the attributes we talked about and more. When we say “Allahumma” (اللهم), we are calling out to Allah (swt). In Arabic, when you call out to someone you say “ya“(يا), and here, the ‘m’ (م) at the end takes its place. Ibn Al-Qayyim says that when someone calls to Allah (swt) saying, “Allahumma I ask you…” the person is saying, “I am asking Allah who possesses the Best Names and the Highest attributes by those Names and attributes.”
So when you say ‘Allah’, know that you are calling the One who possesses all the greatest attributes – everything that we talked about in this series and more.
This Name is unique because it is Allah’s alone (swt). His other Names are also attributes by which people are sometimes described, but this Name can only refer to Him. According to al-Ghazali, this is the greatest of Allah’s (swt) Names. It is the Name most mentioned in the Qur’an, and it is the Name that is mentioned in every hadith (tradition of the Prophet ﷺ, peace be upon him) that talks about God’s greatest Name.
The Beauty of Allah (swt)
Just hearing this Name of Allah (swt) should change something in us and soothe our hearts. Ibn al-Qayyim quotes Ibn Forak, who says that the Name ‘Allah’ starts with the ‘a’ sound, which originates in the chest, and ends with the ‘h’ sound which goes back to the chest. The chest contains the heart, and thus the Name ‘Allah’ begins in the heart and ends there.
I met a woman during `Umrah (the lesser pilgrimage) a few years ago, and she was talking about her journey to Islam. She said she had always been a spiritual person, and she happened upon a talk by a Muslim sheikh (scholar). Up until that point, she had never heard the Name ‘Allah’ before. She said that what stuck out for her during his talk was the beauty of the sound of Allah’s (swt) Name. That planted the seed in her heart and began her journey to learning about Islam.
So who is Allah (swt)?
Allah (swt) is the One whom we worship: the One to whom we go with hope, reverence, and love. He is the Lord, the Sustainer and the Originator of this whole universe. If you want to feel in awe of Allah (swt), go out somewhere in nature and just be with yourself. Reflect on the vastness of this universe and its beauty, and our small place in it.
Even though the world appears to be so much greater, Allah (swt) created each soul personally. He knows you better than your parents, your spouse, or your best friend. He hears you before you speak. He knows everything you have been through and everything you are going through. His door is always open to you no matter your state. The Prophet ﷺ tells us:
“Allah is happier with His servant who turns back to Him than the happiness one of you would feel if he was wandering in a barren wasteland to find his steed had wandered off with all his food and provisions. Then, after the heat and his thirst become severe, he falls asleep in the same place and wakes to find his steed standing before him, so that he grabs its reigns and says: “O Allah! I am your Lord and You are my servant,” mixing up his words on account of his extreme joy.” (Muslim)
He is greater than any of our problems, our fears or worries. This is why we say, “Allahu Akbar!” (Allah is greater) at the start of every prayer to remind ourselves: He is greater. He gifted the daily prayers to us so that we can be brought back to our center and purpose at least five times a day, remembering that He sets the standards for greatness and loftiness as we recite these attributes in our bowing and prostration.
Our hopes and dreams are not too big for Him. He says in a hadith qudsi (narration of the words of Allah via the Prophet ﷺ):
“O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request of Me, and were I to give everyone what he requested, that would not decrease what I have, any more than a needle decreases the sea if put into it.” (Muslim)
He is Vast, and so encompasses all of us, with our mistakes and brokenness. Don’t ever believe that you are too broken for Him. Don’t ever think that there is no room for you. When Allah (swt) tells you to turn back to Him and seek forgiveness, it is because you have the potential to be better. You are not defined by your mistakes. The Prophet ﷺ tells us: “Allah extends His hand at night to give forgiveness to those who sinned during that day, and He extends His hand during the day to give forgiveness to those who sinned during the night. This will continue to be the case until the Sun rises from the west,” (Muslim).
Knowing that instructions may be theoretical, He sent us a Messenger who is from amongst us to teach us and show us the way. Allah (swt) says about the Prophet ﷺ:
“And We have not sent you, [O Muhammad], except as a mercy to the worlds.” (Qur’an, 21:107)
He embodied in the Prophet ﷺ the perfect example: Worshipping Allah (swt) with love, hope and fear; kindness and compassion to everyone; communal and individual responsibility; and justice in society. Knowing that we might sometimes feel that it is all too much, the Prophet ﷺ advised his daughter, Fatima radi Allahu `anha (may God be pleased with her), to say in the morning and in the evening:
“Ya Ḥayyu ya Qayyūm (O Ever-Living, O Sustainer), by Your Mercy I seek help, rectify for me all of my affairs and do not leave me to depend on myself, even for the blink of an eye.” (Hakim)
By reminding us that Allah (swt) is at every moment sustaining this world, we realize how fragile we are and how much we are in need of Him, and thus we ask Him not to leave us for even a second.
Allah (swt) sent us to know Him and to experience His attributes through the good and what we perceive to be bad. He knows of our efforts and assures us that they never go to waste, thus teaching us to be ambitious. Tests and hardships may come our way, but they come to alert us, strengthen us, elevate us and teach us. With His wisdom, justice and mercy, the whole world moves. He commands us to do things because He is our Creator, but in the end all of the things commanded of us to do or prohibited of us benefit us in the long-term. He is the Acquainted One – who knows the inner and outer realities – and the Most Wise.
He reveals to us that He is the source of Peace, so we can turn to Him to be at peace, and emulate His attributes by being agents of peace in this world. He is so Generous that He prepared for us a paradise that not only satisfies our material wants, but our emotional wants and needs. It is a place in which we can be with those we love, where our hearts know no pain, and where we will finally be with Allah (swt).
He is the First and the Last, the Ascendant and the Intimate. Once we realize that, we can start everything with His remembrance and understand that it will all go back to Him; we can start to see His attributes in the minutiae of our everyday.
He is Allah (swt).